The Environment Ministry signed Wednesday an MVR133 million (US$8.6 million) contract with the UAE-based Water Engineering Services FZE to establish drinking water facilities on 32 islands.
Facilities on seven islands will reportedly be funded from the state budget and loans from OFID. More than MVR104 million for the other 25 islands comes from the Green Climate Fund.
The 10-month project involves setting up tanks to store rainwater along with units to filter, disinfect and store clean water.
The contract was signed just three days before the presidential election.
But a project to deliver clean water to 30 percent of the population with funding from the Green Climate Fund was signed with the UNDP in May 2017.
No new contracts have been signed since under the Green Climate Fund, UNDP confirmed to the Maldives Independent.
“The Maldives has only one GCF project supported by UNDP, entitled ‘Supporting Vulnerable Communities in Maldives to Manage Climate Change-Induced Water Shortages,'” a UNDP official said.
“The project aspires to provide safe and uninterrupted drinking water for up to 49 islands of the Maldives.”
An environment ministry spokeswoman said the GCF funds were being utilised for the 32-island project. It was “hard to say” why it was not done sooner, she said.
The five-year project by the UNDP “targets 49 islands across 13 atolls of the Maldives that continue to experience water shortages linked to low rainfall and extended dry periods brought on by a changing climate.”
The 32 islands included in the contract with the UAE company are Kumundhoo, Vaikaradhoo, Nolhivaram and Makunudhoo in Haa Dhaal atoll; Holhudhoo in Noonu atoll; Inguraidhoo and Maakurath in Raa atoll; Himandhoo, Bodufolhuldhoo, and Mathiveri in Alif Alif atoll; Kuburudhoo and Dhigurah in Alif Dhaal atoll; Badidhoo, Meedhoo and Hulhudelhi in Dhaalu atoll; Vandhoo, Gaadhiffushi, Omadhoo, Kadoodhoo, Kibidhoo, and Dhiyamigili in Thaa atoll; Raiymandhoo, Veyvah and Naalaafushi in Meemu atoll; Nilandhoo, Maamendhoo and Kodey in Gaaf Alif atoll; Nadella, Hoadendhoo, Fiyoaree, Rathafandhoo and Fares-Maathooda in Gaaf Dhaal atoll.